Google Mail, more commonly known as 'Gmail', is a free ad-supported web based email programme. Alongside browser based use it also offers POP3 and IMAP for remote server access, for example for synchronisation with a smart phone device such as the BlackBerry. Gmail launched in April 2004 as an invitation-only beta release and did not become available to the general public until February 2007. Gmail came out of beta status in July 2009 for the first time. At the close of 2009 it had in excess of 176 million monthly users. Before the launch of Gmail, the www.Gmail.com domain was used to host official Garfield comic strips!
Google Mail: www.googlemail.com
All about Gmail the email provider by Google, www.googlemail.com
Gmail was the first free web based email provider to offer 1gb of storage, and it was this pioneering move which led to Yahoo! Mail increasing its own offering to 1gb and then to an unlimited capacity. Other competitors subsequently raised the bar, and Gmail eventually graduated to 2gb and then 4gb. At current Gmail offers 7.45gb of free storage, with the ability for users to upgrade their storage limits by pretty much any amount. The smallest upgrade package costs $5 a year and provides the customer with a 20gb storage capacity. The largest upgrade package available costs $4096 per year and provides an astonishing 16 TB per year. Other features include:
- Gmail Labs - Google introduced in June 2008 to allow users the opportunity to elect to test new or experimental features on the site. So far these features have included bookmarking, customised keyboard shorcuts, and various games. Users can elect to enable or disable each feature accordingly and are able to offer feedback for the benefit of Google engineers.
- Spam Filter - The Spam Filter on Gmail is entirely user driven, with a complicated formula used to determine the seriousness or degree of spam and enablying the system to deal with a specific email accordingly.
- Gmail Mobile - Gmail also offers a completely free service designed specifically for cell phones and smart phones. Gmail Mobile has been available since 2005, although it has evolved a lot since, and is available in numerous languages. All of the fundamental functions of Gmail can be utilised with Gmail Mobile, it is possible for example to compose, reply, read, forward emails, add a star, or trash emails.
- Google Buzz - Google Buzz is a new service by Google which fully integrates with Gmail to create a unique social media platform, abilities include status updates, and link and media sharing.
Gmail was ranked at second in the 2005 PC World '100 Best Products of 2005' list, second only to the fantastic Mozilla Firefox browser. It also gained an 'honourable mention' at the Bottom Line Design Awards 2005. The www.Gmail.com domain is unavailable in Germany due to trademark disputes, German users have to access their accounts via the domain www.GoogleMail.com. The same dispute occurred in the UK, where users were required to have an '@googlemail.com email address rather than an @gmail.com email address, although this was lifted in May 2010.